Longtime Urbana educator Williams takes over top job

URBANA – Though it felt a bit like the first day of kindergarten for Preston Williams Jr., Monday was the first day of a job with much more responsibility – and no naptimes.

On Monday, Williams became the head of a school district with more than 4,000 students, the boss of more than 700 teachers and staff.

Interim principal hired for Dr. Howard School

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board on Monday appointed a University of Illinois administrator and product of the Champaign school system as interim principal of Dr. Howard Elementary School.

Jennifer Heinhorst-Busby is currently director of the Office of Clinical Experiences for the UI College of Education, where she oversees the placement of more than 600 student teachers per year. She has been at the UI since 2002.

Champaign schools' support staff contract expires

CHAMPAIGN – Support staff in the Champaign school district are now working without a contract.

The three-year contract expired this past weekend for 490 employees, including clerical staff, maintenance and food service workers, teachers' aides, bus drivers, computer technicians, interpreters and other noncertified employees.

Parents get advice on helping kids with schoolwork

CHAMPAIGN – Yvette Brown wants to help her 8-year-old son more with his schoolwork.

Elliot Brown, a third-grade student at Dr. Howard Elementary School, is in a reading program that takes him out of the classroom for a time, and his mother wants to help him keep up and supplement what his teachers are doing.

Dr. Howard school to get interim chief

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board plans to appoint an interim principal for Dr. Howard Elementary School at a special meeting Monday.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., C. It will meet in executive session to discuss the appointment, and then is expected to take action in open session.

Roof repair to Unity Junior High could top $22,000

TOLONO – The Unit 7 school board is hoping to repair the roof at Unity Junior High School, but the cost could be more than $22,000.

The roof repairs involve a sixth-grade wing addition that was completed last August. Freezing and thawing in February caused snow and ice in the valleys to work their way up behind the roof's flashings.

Grant to provide education extras for Danville students

DANVILLE – Danville schools and Project Success officials are joining forces to bring after-school programs to Danville High and South View Middle School students.

The programs, which will start this fall, will be funded by a $250,000-a-year grant from the state board of education. Project Success, which wrote the grant on the school district's behalf, will receive that amount each year for five years for a total of $1.25 million.

DACC gets $90,000 worker training grant

DANVILLE – Danville area workers can sharpen their skills – and competitive edge against firms in Indiana and beyond – thanks to a $90,000 state grant.

The work force training grant was awarded to Danville Area Community College's Corporate and Community Education Division, Rep. Bill Black announced Thursday. It was awarded through the state's Employer Training Investment Program, which helps people improve technical workplace skills as well as those in information technology, leadership and workplace safety and security.

Gift buys children at DACC safer place to play

DANVILLE – Children at Danville Area Community College's Child Development Center are playing on safer outdoor equipment, thanks to a former Danville resident and the DACC Foundation.

Ellen Metzendorf – along with her husband, Lee Metzendorf – established the Alma and Henri Meis Child Development Fund with an endowment of $25,000.

Lawyer sees little impact for Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – A U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down race-based school assignment plans may not have an immediate effect on the Champaign school district, says a lawyer for black families in the district.

Carol Ashley, a Chicago attorney who represents the plaintiffs in the Champaign school district's consent decree case, said she is still reviewing the decision, but believes the district's schools of choice plan is permissible, because the district is still governed by the consent decree.